In recent days and weeks we have heard a great deal of consternation over the definition of marriage. Many are claiming a certainty over definitions of marriage; many evangelicals in the Christian faith are claiming certainty according to scripture. Bold public statements such as this have put the minds of many faithful Christians to the test. Some may be asking, if I am a Christian, “Is there only one certain stance I should have”? Others may ask, if we change this are we undermining our faith? These are likely questions, but I’m not sure they are the right ones or even good questions.
The story of the new church as outlined in the book of Acts includes many incidences of faithfulness to God challenging scriptural and traditional certainties. In Acts chapter 10, Cornelius, a Roman centurion is admitted to this newly forming church. His identity, his life, and his history all attest to a person not right for admission to this new church. Furthermore, he has now entertained the eating of profane foods (according to Old Testament law) for himself and others in this faith. The existing community of faith listening to Peter was “astounded” (vs. 45) at Peter’s decision to include Cornelius into this family of faith. They were astounded that the Holy Spirit had fallen upon even the Gentiles! Who are the Gentiles in our world today? What might we or others be astounded by when “certainties” are questioned? Might it be the Holy Spirit?
Jesus calls us to “abide in his love” (John 15:9-17) and that his love would abide in us. God abides in us by his presence of the Holy Spirit. Might we listen to this Spirit that abides in us which may also astound our certainties? Jesus then says, “this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Perhaps it is Jesus’ amazing love that is astounding to us when it abides in us. How might your faithfulness to Jesus’ love that abides in you affect your certainties? Some of us may be struck with horror, others with belief, and yet others with joy. Perhaps, regardless of all that we feel, God’s love persists to abide in us. His faithfulness does endure forever.